American investment giant Cerberus lines up bid for Addison Lee, according to reports

Pd Website News Monday Addison Lee

American investment giant Cerberus Capital Management is the latest potential buyer for Addison Lee, according to a Sky News report.

Cerberus is said to be considering a bid for the UK’s biggest private hire operator as current owners Carlyle Group press to find a buyer for the business.

According to City sources, Cerberus has submitted an offer the company, though it is unclear whether this constitutes a formal bid. Cerberus has made no comment on the story.

Carlyle wants to find a buyer for Addison Lee before the end of the year. A number of companies are believed to have tabled bids, but none has met Carlyle’s minimum price, which is enough to cover a £230m debt that must be repaid next April. Potential buyers could also include ride-hailing market entrants such as Ola and Bolt.

If nobody meets the asking price, a deal would be likely to involve a debt-for-equity swap, or a “pre-pack administration”, according to insiders.

Carlyle has already scaled back earlier valuations of the company – as high as £800m – in the wake of substantial losses. Addison Lee posted pre-tax losses in the year ending August 2018 of almost £39m, up from £20.8m a year before, despite a 13% increase in revenue to £390m. Carlyle bought the business for £300m in 2013 from founder John Griffin.

Last month Addison Lee Group chief executive Andy Boland said revenue growth had been driven by international expansion, as well as a focus on service and investment in infrastructure.

“Our focus is on capturing a greater share of the $30bn annual global premium car mobility market, while embracing new technology which allows us to better serve our customers and cement our place as a key player in the mobility sector, as evidenced by our recent success in winning UK government funding for autonomous vehicle projects,” he told the Financial Times.